Tag Archive | inspiration

Hubris of Ignorance

The following link is provided with the permission of Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station:
http://www.stonekettle.com/2017/04/the-hubris-of-ignorance.html

 

This will take a few minutes to read, so get a good cup of coffee, or as Jim might suggest, a beer.  Make yourself comfortable and be prepared to think a bit.

Here are some samples from Jim’s excellent article:

 

“Have  you been following this? All these airplane crashes? And everyone is so confused. Everyone is going, Gosh, how come there are so many airplane crashes? Well, um, I gotta theory here. You remember, what was it? Like, uh, four years ago? The air traffic controllers, they went on strike? And then, um, Ronald Reagan fired ‘em? So then they just hired anyone who was hanging out at the time. And now everyone is going, Geez, how come there are so many airplane crashes? How come there are so many airplane crashes?! I dunno, maybe Walt the janitor isn’t qualified to land a Boeing 707!”
— Bobcat Goldthwait

Maybe Walt the Janitor isn’t qualified to land a Boeing 707.

But then again, in America we’d love to believe Old Wally could maybe pull it off.
Because we Americans, we sure love the heroic myth of the common man.

Oh we do. We prefer myth over reality every time.

We love to tell ourselves that one.

It’s the myth of our country’s birth. We love that myth more than all the others combined.

We tell ourselves with great pride how a bunch of raggedy assed, untrained colonists one day rose up against tyranny.  The Minutemen were roused from their beds in the middle of the night by Paul Revere and they rallied to the Stars and Stripes. They threw all the tea into Boston harbor and sent England a stiff upraised middle finger, up yours, we ain’t paying no taxes no more.  And then a bunch of farmers grabbed up their muskets and formed themselves into a militia under good old George Washington and this army of amateurs chased the Redcoats all the way back to England without any help from anybody except for Jesus.

Because Americans are special. Exceptional.

And when they’d thrown off the yoke of tyranny, well, then a bunch of common men gathered in Philadelphia to receive the Constitution directly from God. They wrote down the sacred words and everybody signed it, especially John Hancock, and America was born.

Amen.

That’s the myth we tell ourselves, we Americans.

We’re special. Exceptional. We pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps and forged the Republic out of the mud with our own hands.

We’re a nation of amateurs. Bunch of Good Old Boys beat the best army on the planet. Bunch of farmers wrote the Constitution and laid down the foundation for the greatest country in the world. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In America, we’re not ruled over by kings. We don’t owe our allegiance to some hereditary weak-chinned inbred royalty.

No, Sir.

In America, why the people are the government and anybody can be president.

Anybody.

We are a nation of amateurs and damned proud of it, aren’t we?
That’s what this election was about.”

“Moreover, we Americans by and large tend to be suspicious of education and experience when it comes to government.

Anywhere else, brain surgeon, airline pilot, corporate CEO, dog trainer, we want the most experienced person we can get. But the President? Not so much. Power corrupts, right? You got to clean house every once in a while. Throw the bums out.

Except…
Except, in retrospect, perhaps ignorance and a suspicion of “elites” isn’t the best way to go about selecting a leader.

The world is a dangerous and complicated place.
Almost unimaginably so.

And nothing is as simple or as straight forward as it seems and as the mob apparently believes.
Foreign nations do not kowtow to the United States.

This is not something new.

This is no weakness of Carter or Clinton or Obama – or Reagan and Bush for that matter. These nations have never bent a knee to us. From Morocco during Roosevelt’s time, to Cuba and Vietnam during Kennedy, to Libya under Reagan to Haiti and Grenada and Panama and all the nations that fill your news feed today.
It is the nature of nations, large and small, to push back – and in fact, like dogs, the smaller a nation is, likely the more fierce and furious its bark.

At home, we Americans face the same problems we’ve always faced, energy and resources, civil rights, race, age, religion, law and order, unrest, left and right, young and old, health care, education, infrastructure, jobs.

It’s complicated and difficult and always on the verge of failure.
This is not a world for a government run by amateurs.”
Jim wrote one thing I especially have to quote…okay, then comment:
“The simpleminded demand simple causes for complex problems.
The simpleminded demand simple solutions.”
****
Fellow Americans..fellow humans, for that matter:
Are we truly simple minded?  Or is it more that we don’t engage our minds to their full capacities?
If the former is true, we are in deep trouble and the situation is hopeless.  If it’s the latter, however, we need to get off our butts, wake up and engage!
I will come back to this quote in a future post:  It’s just too rich to leave.
****

Go read the full article; enjoy.

 

 

Writer’s Block

It seems  that there are so many fresh thoughts and ideas coming into my head;
So much new information:  News items, results of studies and research…
Yet the things that are solid enough to put on paper – or computer – seem old and stale.

The new things are like trying to catch clouds
Or hold the current of a river still long enough to be examined and described.
Does it always have to be that the newborns of life are soft and pliable?
But then, that is part of their loveliness.

Hopes, dreams, possibilities:
All like children yet to be conceived!
O that I will be able to hold some long enough to write about them!

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The Party Everyone Wants to attend

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Thursday is a national holiday in the US: Thanksgiving.

This year, I am in charge of the community dinner, which will feed around 200 people.

It’s my first time doing this.  At first, I thought we could make things a little smaller, but the community is so enthusiastic about it, we’ll have to do the whole banana.  Even the entire university football team is coming!

Historically, community Thanksgiving dinners have been for “those who have nowhere to go.”  I have been in that group:  It is a real drag!  It’s also a dilemma:  Somehow, going to the dinner for ones with nowhere to go makes the loneliness more difficult, even though the intent is good.

I am already thinking that I want to change this up for next year:  A real event.  Instead of buying all the stuff, cooking for three days and cleaning up, come party with us!  If there are just two of you and you would like something a bit festive, come on in!

This idea is inspired by one family who is doing just that.  Normally, they go out to the local truck stop for Thanksgiving, but they decided that it would be more fun to come join the community meal and help out.

The football team also inspires this.  They won their playoff game and are headed to the finals, so they had to stay in town.  It will be so much fun to have them.

Then, there are people who have stepped up to help by volunteering, donating and cheering us on.

This year’s dinner will be festive indeed; next year’s?

The party everyone wants to attend!

Heroes In a Troubled World

This morning, I heard a story on the BBC about a journalist who had spent a week on the MSF Dignity.  She told about the people being rescued and their hardships.  She said they rescued more than 500 people while she was on board.

 

I had heard of Doctors Without Borders, but had not given them much attention until this morning’s account.  I was truly inspired:  Here are people who are invested in rescuing, providing medical care and reaching out to ones in need, even when they are in very dangerous areas.
Here is part of a story I found at
http://www.msf.org/en/article/mediterranean-msf-assists-rescue-3000-people-single-day

 

30 August 2016
On 29 August, MSF search and rescue boat Dignity I contributed to the rescue of around 3,000 people drifting in about 20 rubber dinghies and several wooden boats in the central Mediterranean, one of which carried between 600 and 700 people.

“This is one of the largest numbers of people we have assisted in any single day since our search and rescue operations began over a year ago,” says Nicholas Papachrysostomou, field coordinator for Dignity I. “This unbelievable number speaks to the desperation people are facing in their countries that pushes them to risk their lives to seek safety and protection in Europe.” The Dignity I boat can hold a standard capacity of 400 people, yet due to the extreme situation yesterday MSF boarded 435 men, women, and children. For the other people in distress, MSF distributed all of their stock of 700 life jackets and used our RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) in order to transfer as many people as possible to other search and rescue vessels in the area.

“We have a remarkable story of rescuing twins who were premature babies delivered at eight months and were five days old,” says Antonia Zemp, medical team leader. “The mother was traveling alone. One of the boys was not well. He was vomiting, had hypothermia and was non-reactive. After a first triage, our medical team decided to request an evacuation due to the fact that his health was so fragile that he would not have survived the long journey to Italy in our boat. We transferred both mother and twins to another vessel that could evacuate them to shore.”

MSF’s medical teams treated people who were exhausted and experiencing bloody diarrhoea, dehydration, fever, hypothermia and skin diseases. Of the 435 people rescued by Dignity I, 353 were male and 82 female. This included 13 children under five years of age and 110 minors, 92 of which were unaccompanied.

Currently, Dignity I is heading to Vibo Valentia, Italy in order to disembark the 435 people on board. It will return to sea as soon as the boat has been restocked to continue its search and rescue operations.
Since 21 April 2016, when MSF’s search and rescue operations began this year, MSF teams on board the Dignity I, Bourbon Argos and Aquarius (in partnership with SOS Mediterranée) have rescued a total of 11,365 people in 85 different rescue operations.

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At a time when we hear so much negative “stuff,” it is refreshing to consider people who are excelling at doing good in the world.

May you be warmed and inspired by this story.

 

These are only snapshots of what Doctors Without Borders do.  If you search for articles an dvids, you will find many.  Here is one that tells a bit more:

 

“A Day On the Front Line”

SOMETHING ABOUT BEAUTIFUL

“It’s a special place where people think you’re beautiful; it’s more powerful when you know that yourself.”  Kris Vallotton
Beautiful might have excellence of form or color; though lack of symetry and uniqueness intrigue.
It has noble and spiritual qualities, inspiring, encouraging and evoking life within.
Handsome is stately or pleasing; masculine and strong.
Lovely is beautiful in a warm and endearing way.

 

My experience and observations have taught me that we have trouble with being noticed as beautiful, handsome or lovely.  We bow our heads, look away, smile timidly and sometimes deny the compliment.
Why?  What has made beauty something that troubles us?  Is it too intimate, reaching to deep places in our souls that would rather remain hidden?
Is it more that it cuts through lies we have been taught, such as appreciating  our own qualities is conceited and vain?
Does it give others influence that challenges our sense of comfort?

 

Do you know you are beautiful?
Will you wear the handsome loveliness that is unique to you with dignity?

 

May the power of beauty shine through and around you.

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE HOPE

As long as there’s sunrise each morning,
Presenting us with a brand new day;
As long as we build on the future
And opportunities come our way,
There will always be hope.

 

As long as we practice love and honor,
Respectful to each person we meet;
In knowledge and appreciation,
Of uniqueness and diversity,
There will always be hope.

 

As we act on our power to choose
In each situation, great and small;
AS we say, “yes” to higher standards
Of liberty and justice for all,
There will always be hope.

 

As night falls and the sun comes again,
Bringing promise to every person;
As we learn to work with each other,
Till each struggle and battle is won,
There will always be hope!

THINGS THAT INSPIRE

The soothing warmth of sunshine;
Music that fills my soul;
Interesting conversation
That leaves me happy and full.

 

Caresses of affection,
Tangibly and in word;
One who carefully listens,
So that I know I am heard.

 

Mysterious adventure;
Unanswered questions tease;
Call me to deeper places;
Such things inspire me as these.